Sunday, 29 April 2012

Forth & Clyde Canal LRF.

Friday, and with a swell as big as 9ft battering some of our local sea marks we turned our attention to inland waterways. The target was perch and we decided to fish the Forth and Clyde canal for the first time in the hope of finding our stripey adversaries. We decided to explore the stretch of canal starting at the Falkirk Wheel. Whilst I drove, Scott sorted us out with Scottish Federation for Coarse Angling membership which includes permits for both the Union and Forth & Clyde canals. This can be done online for the princely sum of £6 for the year, an absolute bargain! Further details here. After a short drive along the M9 and following the signs, we arrived to find the canal bathed in sunshine, making a mockery of the weather reports.

The Falkirk Wheel connects the Union Canal with the Forth & Clyde Canal via a rotating boat lift.

As the target was perch we went with our LRF gear. Scott used his Nories Rock Bottom Ultra Light rod and Daiwa Steez 2500 reel loaded with 6lb Sunline Rockfish and I went with my Graphite Leader Corto EX and Shimano Exage 3000 loaded with 8.5lb Daiwa Tournament. As pike are common in the canal we were using homemade lightweight wire traces.

The water clarity was surprisingly good in comparison with the Union Canal and it looked perfect. On the business end I rigged up a Berkley Gulp! 1" Minnow in Waermelon/Pearl on a 1.5g Crazyg HD jighead. With the water so clear we could see the lure working as it was retrieved. On the fifth cast I saw a shadow following , it suddenly accelerated and in a flash of dark green seized the lure! Pike on! It still surprises me how much my rod hoops over when you hook a fish but even though it bends at no point do you feel out of control. The fish tried to run against the curve of the rod but it soaked up all its attempts with its fantastic playing action and was safely chinned out by Scott.

Nice start to the session and the tourists were intrigued by it all too.
The Graphiteleader Corto EX, a real pleasure to catch small jacks with.

Not a big fish but great fun and after a couple of snaps was returned none the worse for meeting me. A couple of casts later and Scott exclaimed "Perch!". Two small perch had shadowed his lure on the retrieve and although neither of them looked too interested in his lure we were heartened to see our first perch in months!

We continued to work the lures, amongst passing tourists whilst being given some odd looks and being asked a few questions. About 10 minutes later Scott was into his first pike of the session. It was taken on a Duo Tetra Works Toto 42 in THN05 and was a perfectly formed tiny pike.  The smallest Scott has ever caught in fact. He really wanted the lure and had swallowed most of it so it took a bit of careful unhooking through the gill covers before he was released to terrorise the roach fry again without any photos being taken.

We continued to work up the canal I stuck with the Gulp Minnow and Scott tried a variety of lures in the hope we could tempt a Perch. We continued to catch little pike and we ended up with 4 each and about the same number of pike that threw the hook. Here are a few pics of our micro crocs.

Even small pike have a nasty set of razor sharp gnashers.
Gulp! Minnow claims another victim.
This Jack fell for Marukyu Power Isome, no species can resist!
They may be small but they're still beautiful.
I put Scott's success down to wearing my lucky hat. He says it's LRF skill alone!
This jack is small but the first pike Scott caught was even smaller!

Scott had his 4 pike on 4 different lures. His other three taking a large pink Marukyu Power Isome, a 2" Panic Minnow in Ghost Shad and a 2.25" Lake Fork Live Baby Shad in Golden Shiner.

Variety was the spice of pike for Scott.

We did see another perch, maybe about a pound, following Scott's Panic Minnow but he couldn't be tempted to bite. Soon it was time to leave which was hard to do as the mini pike had been great fun on the light gear! At least we know where there are some perch now and we hope to explore this stretch of water a bit more thoroughly in the future. There are some large pike in the canal too and a local angler we spoke to briefly very kindly gave us a few ideas on their location so we will have to target them as well on some heavier tackle!

Tight Lines, Schogsky.

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